Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Pilot

Over the past seven years, I've become accustomed to flying overseas. The comfort level on Asian airlines is just out of this world. (Shout out to Korean Airlines and Singapore Airlines!) I've also gotten used to flying over the oceans, something that would have given me nightmares in my earlier life. The ride in those huge jets is incredibly smooth, even for the most part, the landings. But I cringe a little when the movie freezes and the pilot comes on the intercom, invariably beginning his announcement with the word, "Folks." The subject is inevitably turbulence and the captain asks the passengers to remain seated and buckled in. I am always impressed with the calmness in the pilot's voice, reassuring us that it might get a little bumpy but it's going to be all right. No real rough patches on my flight to Saigon and then back to Houston this trip. That's something to be grateful for!

I have always been amazed at pilots' ability to foresee turbulence before we pass through it, especially if the skies appear to be clear. How do they know? I'm sure it has to do with radar and storm tracking systems and air traffic controllers. But they can see what is unseen to those of us in the back of the plane who depend on them for our very lives. I've only been really scared one time and that was inside a small plane over the Gulf of Mexico on a Honduras mission. I was gripping the seat ahead of me and praying fervently but I can laugh about it now. Were we in real danger? I don't know and it doesn't matter to me- I'm past it.

I tell my students what I heard in a sermon a number of years ago- we're either going into a storm, coming out of a storm, or in the middle of a storm. That's life. A man told me this week that several of his kids have severe issues in their lives right now. One of my former students confided a few days ago that a visa issue may force her to leave the US, which in my opinion, could place her in harm's way. A college friend, who married a girl I also dated, passed away in the last seventy-two hours. How do we navigate those storms of life that we know will come when they do come?

In John 16:33, Jesus reassures His men with these words:
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
What a blessing to know that in spite of the rough patches in our existences, the Lord is there and will see us through. I am not smart enough to delve into the whys of catastrophes that blindside believers but I am convinced that Jesus has overcome the world. Yesterday, I saw a blind man walking down Fondren Avenue, several blocks from my apartment. I have seen him walk this same route over the years. He finds his way with a cane and manages well, at least in my limited perspective. He was fumbling with the switch that lights up the safe to walk sign at a busy four way intersection while cars raced by. It hit me that I could see what was coming at him from all four directions but he was limited in information to what he could hear and perhaps sense. While we are often oblivious to the dangers swirling around us, whether physical or spiritual, the One who loves us is aware. He will bring us through the storms and the trials. Did you ever see those 'God Is My Co-Pilot' bumper stickers? Not a terrible sentiment but not quite accurate either. If we scratch out the Co, we will be just fine. We need Him in control.

Applicable quote of the day:
God bless,
Luke 18:1
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